Picture paradise, and the lush leafy rainforests and golden coastlines of Mauritius may just spring to mind. This verdant island flung off Africa’s east coast is a favorite among those seeking a total escape from reality — and it’s very easy to see why.
In addition to its sun-soaked coastlines and luxurious resorts, Mauritius is blessed with wonderful wildlife, extraordinary natural landscapes, and a vibrant culture enriched by global influences. What’s more, its location on the Indian Ocean ensures it’s an excellent destination to combine with a safari or a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls.
1Unwind at pristine beaches
Breathtaking beaches are one of several highlights if you’re considering a vacation to Mauritius. The island nation is blessed with more than 100 miles of beautiful beaches, each one with its own . Kitesurfers will love the breezy shores of Le Morne: a silvery swathe that backs onto the spectacular UNESCO-recognized Le Morne Cultural Landscape. On the opposite side of the country, Belle Mare’s powder-soft sand and azure waters make it a top draw. It’s also backed by some of the island’s most luxurious hotels, making it a prime spot for a relaxing vacation.
If snorkeling with magical marine life is on your list, make your way to Flic en Flac Beach on the west coast. The picture-perfect beach is framed by swaying palms, and features a wonderful lagoon that’s teeming with technicolored fish. Blue Bay, by the marine park of the same name, is a top spot for organized snorkel trips.
Good To Know
Want to delve a little deeper? The best time to visit Mauritius for diving is between November and April when the seas are calm. Expeditions tend to depart from Grand Baie or Tamarin Beach, with the northerly rock formation of Coin de Mire lauded as the country’s premier dive site (especially if you want to glimpse stingrays and sharks while swimming alongside historic shipwrecks).
2Trek through tropical rainforests and national parks
There’s far more to a Mauritius vacation than simply lying on a beach. Head away from the coast and you’ll find an interior that’s filled with thick rainforests, jagged mountain ranges and picture-perfect national parks.
One of the most popular things to do in Mauritius is to visit the Seven Colored Earth. These divine dunes sit close to Chamarel and are renowned for their otherworldly shades caused by high concentrations of metal in the earth. Mauritius has a few stunning national parks to explore, too. The Black River Gorges National Park is a hotspot for forest hikes, bird spotting, and epic photo opportunities from the impressive Gorges viewpoint.
You’ll also find the Table Mountain of Mauritius along the Le Morne Peninsula. It may not be as large as its South African namesake but it’s a wonderful location for a hike.
Good To Know
Always wanted to see giant tortoises? La Vanille Nature Park is the natural habitat of around 1,000 Aldabra tortoises and many of them are more than 100 years old! You might also see other creatures in the park, including monkeys, iguanas, and Nile crocodiles. There’s also the Fossil Museum with exhibits tracking the island’s natural history over the past 100 million years.
3Check in to some of the most incredible hotels in the region
Mauritius is packed with phenomenal hotels and beach resorts, with options to suit any vacation type or budget.
Four-star La Pirogue Resort sits on Flic en Flac Beach, affording uninterrupted Indian Ocean views from many of its suites. Its bohemian vibe makes it ideal for R&R. Yoga classes, meditation sessions and spa treatments number among its many amenities, while mouthwatering local cuisine and atmospheric entertainment are on offer during the evenings. Perhaps one of La Pirogue’s most distinct features is its recording studio. Designed for use by budding local artists, it’s also open to hotel guests who want to unleash their musical talent.
For an even more intimate experience, stay at 20 Degrees Sud. Nestled among coconut palms close to Grand Baie, the resort hosts just 36 boutique-style suites. Sample some of the island’s tantalizing cuisine at the on-site restaurants. You could even dine onboard the M/S Lady Lisbeth — a vintage teak boat built in the 1920s which departs on daily sunset dinner cruises.
There’s also the Four Seasons Anahita: one of the few resorts on the island to boast not one but two private beaches. The main resort sits just an hour from Port Louis and has fabulous amenities – from an outstanding overwater spa to bike hire and various exhilarating water sports. You could also take advantage of the free shuttle service to nearby Ile Aux Cerfs. An oasis in itself, it’s made all the more spectacular thanks to the Four Seasons’ secluded white-sand cove and tempting beach bar.
20 Degres Sud Boutique Hotel
Style: Beach Resort
Concealed within an old coconut grove bordering the water’s edge, lies one of the best kept secrets of Mauritius: the Hotel 20°Sud.
Coin De Mire Attitude
Style: Beach Resort
Coin De Mire Attitude lies at the northern tip of Mauritius, between Cap Malheureux and Grand Baie villages.
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita
Style: Beach Resort
Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita is nestled on a private beach at the tip of a picturesque lagoon, just an hour away from Port Louis.
Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa
Legend has it that the treasure still lies undiscovered somewhere in Silhouette Island, a captivating thought indeed for the adventurous soul!
4Experience island culture and gastronomy
The Indian Ocean islands are well-known for being a melting pot of culture, religion and cuisine. Mauritius is no exception, with its eclectic Indian, African, European and Chinese influences.
For a true snapshot of island life, plan a day trip to bustling Port Louis. The island’s capital hums with life and is home to some of its best markets. This includes the Central Market of Port Louis where you’ll spot stalls laden with local fruit, homegrown vegetables, and tasty sweet treats. There’s an entire floor dedicated to lovely local handicrafts, too.
Elsewhere in the city, Corderie Street is the place to shop for vibrantly printed fabrics, and you’ll find the small yet lively Chinatown along the Royal Road. Port Louis is also a great place to learn about the island’s history. Several museums are located around the newly developed Caudan Waterfront, including the Blue Penny Museum where you can uncover more about Mauritius’s vibrant art and cultural traditions.
Good To Know
Want to sample Mauritian cuisine during your vacation? Most hotels have a variety of local dishes on their menus. You could also venture to a beachside restaurant or seek out a street food vendor in Port Louis, if you want a taste of local life. Delicacies include filled roti, octopus Creole curry, gateaux piments (deep-fried chili cakes), farata (an Indian-style bread), and boulettes (Chinese dumplings). Have a sweet tooth? Gateaux patate (sweet potato cake) and oundé (rice and coconut balls) are sure to satisfy it.
5Combine your trip with a safari
Thanks to Mauritius’s proximity to Central Africa, you could combine a beach vacation with an exciting safari expedition. As well as enjoying two sets of astoundingly beautiful landscapes, a multi-center vacation lets you immerse yourself in a diverse range of cultures and cuisine.
Strike the perfect balance between relaxation and exhilaration with our Victoria Falls, Botswana and Mauritius itinerary. Begin your trip with a week exploring the safari parks and natural wonders (by foot, car or even canoe!) of Botswana before hopping over to Mauritius for a week of relaxation on the sand.
South Africa is another bucket list location for an epic safari trip. Spot the Big Five on unforgettable game drives around Kruger National Park and then discover a magical underwater world along Mauritius’s dramatic coastlines with our South Africa Safari and Mauritius Beach vacation.
Want to experience one of the world’s most blissful beach destinations? Get in touch for more Mauritius travel tips from our destination experts. We can also help plan your ideal vacation — whether that’s two weeks in the Indian Ocean or an action-packed, getaway combining safaris, beaches and waterfalls in Africa! Get in touch with us, and our travel experts will curate your dream Mauritius vacation!